June 21, 2011
SANFORD, FL – Pangea Adventure Racing's annual Father's Day event, the Seminole County Adventure Race (SCAR), brought out dads and their children of all ages on Sunday to compete and have fun together outdoors.
The SCAR was competitive and included a full roster of great adventure racers; such as Florida Xtreme who won the 6 hour Elite race.
However, the big story from Sunday was the fun shared by a whole host of teams with a family connection.
Daniel Crocker, 64 years old, accepted the challenge presented by his daughter Raquel and son Daniel Jr. but not without reservations.
“I asked them right away 'Are you expecting to win?'” he said. “No we want you to be alive at the end of Father's Day,” joked Daniel Jr.
Racing as Team Alpargatas, the trio survived just fine despite a few hardships.
“I've never rode (a bike) in sand before,” said Daniel Sr. “I borrowed the bicycle. I use a beach cruiser back home.”
“He lives in Boca Raton where the seniors live so that's more his style,” Raquel added. “He did fall. We turned back and he was laying on the ground,” she joked.
The canoe ride proved to be more relaxing for Dad. “He sat in the middle and didn't have an oar,” Raquel said. “So we would be paddling and he was like 'hey look at that crane over there!'” His excitement lead to a few close calls but they managed to keep the boat upright the whole time.
“This is beautiful,” Daniel Sr. concluded. “I would love to come back but I would have to practice. I think they are more competitive.”
Daniel Jr. and Raquel race together frequently and found that the presence of their dad helped keep tensions typical of teammates to a minimum.
“With my brother and I alone there is more of that,” Raquel confessed. “My dad was a nice buffer.”
For Jack Ciesla, a 37 year Marine Corps veteran, racing with his daughters Jeanette and Caryn as Mojitos on Monday proved to be inspirational.
“I thought it was a great experience,” Jack recounted. “I can't believe how well these guys did. It was motivating to watch them because I wanted to quit a number of times.”
Jack used to do a lot of long distance runs, including the JFK 50 Mile, but admitted to being retired too long and enjoying the good life.
“This will probably ruin my golf game for a couple weeks,” he joked. “But it was worth it especially to be here with my two girls.”
Jeanette and Caryn have raced together several times and would never admit that he slowed them down. “I feel like this was one of our better races,” Jeanette said implying the benefits of fatherly influence. But Jack saw it the opposite way.
“They thought they were going to embarrass me but na I was just trying to makes sure I didn't embarrass them,” he admitted. “I told them I'm going to be an anchor and there's gonna be times you're gonna have to push me. And they did their job.”
Not every story from the SCAR involved the kids dragging out dad. In fact, the opposite was true in many cases.
Johnny Yeats and Flor Verstralen usually race as Rub Some Dirt On It but for the SCAR they invited their sons, Avery and Senne respectively, to race with them as POAR Boyz.
“It was fun,” said 12 year old Avery who, despite surfing all day Saturday and staying up til like 11 pm, was still glad he came out.
Senne, 11 years old, admitted he wasn't “exactly ready for the race” but appreciated his dad helping him through. “He kind of picked it up for me.”
For Senne, racing on Father's Day was a nice change of pace on the holiday.
“It was a fun way to spend it,” he remarked. “You don't have to sit (him) on the couch and blindfold him or something (for presents). Instead you can come out here and show him what you are doing.”
Both dads admitted to pushing the boys a little bit but intend to bring them out for more races. For another team, their next race together will be very soon.
The Timers, a father/daughter team consisting of Brian and Megan Holbrook, have already signed up for the Luminescent AR in July.
Megan, 17 years old, raced for the first time and had a great time despite finding it challenging. “The hardest part was just to keep going,” she said.
Her dad didn't notice any signs of her slowing down. “She did great. I didn't have to do much. She stayed right up there,” he said proudly.
The spirit of the SCAR came to life on Sunday as team after team of family and friends flooded the finish line with a feeling of accomplishment and togetherness. On a day usually reserved for relaxation, many people found competing side by side with the people they love to be the utmost in fulfillment.
And while the hard work was already done, the Mojitos still had one last duty to carry out. “We have the cigar to celebrate,” Caryn said as she unveiled the symbol of victory.
“It's up to them (when to light it),” her dad proclaimed. “It's a team event.”